Located 63 nautical miles north of Crete, the world-famous island of Santorini is the southernmost island in the Aegean Sea. From hypnotic sunsets to whitewashed houses rising out of the blue sea, a tour to Santorini offers a feast for all the senses. Here are some fun ways to explore this ancient and modern city.
With more than 2,000 restaurants to choose from in about 60 square miles, it’s important to remember that in Greece, the food itself is less important than enjoying time with friends and family! That said, we can’t help but suggest Skala. Located in one of the most magnificent spots in Oia, Skala offers delicious food with a truly breathtaking view. Besides Santorinian specialties like foungato (zucchini frittata) with yogurt sauce, other Mediterranean flavors to savor include shallot-and-pine-kernel pastries and seafood pasta. The dishes are so tasty and stylish that you may find it difficult to choose just one. If that happens, order a bunch of meze to share. Popular meze include tzatziki, deep-fried chickpea balls, cheese-filled pastries, spring onions and pine kernels, fava beans and stuffed mushrooms. Pair with a glass of famous Santorini wine, like Vinsanto, and it’ll be a meal you’ll never forget!
To really take a step back in time, visit the Santorini Folklore Museum. Located in Fira in an old cave house dating back to 1861, this one-of-a-kind museum showcases a matured winery, along with priceless artifacts made by indigenous carpenters and tinsmiths. The museum also boasts of a well-stocked library with numerous books and manuscripts of the Aegean world. This brainchild of Manolis Lignos is in many ways a perfect replica of a quintessential Santorini village. Open everyday from 10am-2pm and 6pm-8pm, a visit to this unique museum offers significant insight into the culture, tradition, and heritage of the island of Santorini.
Shopping in Santorini offers a little something for everyone. Beautiful art galleries, quality leather, and jewelry shops sit side by side with local handicrafts and small souvenir stands. You’ll find the largest shopping areas in Fira. If you’re a serious shopper, the sheer number of jewelry stores and high-end boutiques packed into such a small space will surprise and delight you. If you’re looking for more unique souvenirs, you may want to head to Oia. There are a considerable number of art galleries where you can purchase ceramics or paintings depicting the endless beauty of Santorini. One of the most popular stores on this street is Replica, where visitors can purchase replicas of famous frescoes, ceramics, and vases. And if you are in no hurry, at the end of the day when things have quieted down, the local shopkeepers might invite you in for a cup of Greek coffee and chat about their families or history on the island. There are also a number of wineries where you can taste and purchase some of Santorini’s famous wines.
Upon arrival in Santorini, you have three choices on how to proceed up to the island—on foot, by cable car or by donkey. The walkway from sea to city consists of 657 four-inch-tall steps. This natural Stairmaster provides a very good workout, especially on a sunny day! The cable car ride lasts approximately three minutes…but you might wait fifteen minutes or more for your turn. Your last option, riding a donkey from the Old Harbor to Fira, is one of the most authentically rustic experiences you’ll find in Santorini. These friendly animals were once the only means of transportation up Santorini’s winding paths. A typical donkey ride lasts about 30 minutes going uphill. The higher you get, the better the views! It’s truly an experience you’ll remember forever.
Have you ever been on tour in Santorini? Tell us your recommendations in the comments below.